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Preventing Sports Injuries and Maximizing Summertime Fun

July 20, 2017 at midnight


The approaching football season means eager youths across East Texas will soon be slamming into each other during grueling practice sessions twice a day. The rousing cheers of parents and other spectators may echo enthusiasm for their kids and their school spirit, but the bruising realities of football and other vigorous sports call for paying close attention to keeping these athletes active and healthy. Even a small sports injury can seriously crimp a young footballer's plans. Here are eight tips for avoiding common athletic injuries.

1) Relaxed pre-sports activities such as strolling around the field, performing jumping jacks, and completing toe-touches all help warm up muscles and tendons before they're called into vigorous action. A large metastudy recently published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports has added support to favoring dynamic stretching over static stretching for most athletes.

2) Getting enough rest in between bouts of strenuous physical activity allows minor injuries to heal before they become significant problems. Battling through accumulated fatigue only leads to substandard performance, impaired attention, and unnecessarily risky plays that raise the likelihood of serious musculoskeletal injuries.

3) Adequate nutrition will ensure that muscles, bones, tendons, and so forth have the protein, vitamins, minerals, and energy required to repair and rebuild themselves. Athletes who focus on bodybuilding to add muscle mass and strength may require a higher daily protein intake than other athletes. Phytochemical-rich foods like broccoli and beet greens help round out a complete nutritional profile.

4) Cross-training helps round out muscular development for improved performance and flexibility. Varying physical activities across a training regime also helps avoid overstressing the same muscle groups. A football player might switch to a few hours on a basketball court, for instance, and a lacrosse player might leave the field for a few dozen laps in a swimming pool.

5) Insisting on proper techniques and equipment will go a long way toward preventing unnecessary injuries. Protective pads, helmets, and shoes buffer fragile joints and tendons against crushing impacts. Knowing how to move correctly for any sport helps avoid twisting and stretching muscles and tendons beyond their natural limits. Carefully timed daily practice sessions also help limit progressive wear and tear that may build into constant fatigue and permanent damage.

6) Many athletes neglect regular rehydration, which might lead to heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. Regularly consuming a sports drink containing sodium, potassium, and other restorative micronutrients can help prevent performance-sapping dehydration.

7) Getting a pre-season physical examination from a health care professional is vital. That said, the majority of athletes with heart problems, diabetes, or other medical conditions may still participate in their favored sports by following their doctor's advice for ensuring personal safety and maintaining good health.

8) Looking out for persistent pain or muscular weakness that might warn of an injury that requires rest or medical attention can catch small problems before they become debilitating bigger problems. Too many young athletes believe they can treat their bodies like infallible machines, realizing the extent of this mistake only after suffering permanent injury. A little care can forestall disappointments and underpin a lifetime of sports activities.

Texas Spine & Joint Hospital Longview Clinic treats athletic injuries every day. As stated above, we stress early detection and intervention, which decrease both injury severity and loss of playing time. To receive a sports physical or an injury evaluation, please call us at 903-758-8754 or visit our website www.tsjh.org.

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